Fertilizer bill should be based on sound science (Editorial)

There are very few people who would purposely pollute a waterway. We all want clean water. But homeowners also want a nice lawn, whether they care for it themselves or pay someone to do the work, and fertilizer is part of that equation. New fertilizer legislation proposed in New Jersey, designed to protect the environment — Barnagat Bay in particular — would affect both commercial fertilizer applicators and home gardeners. The bill would remove phosphorus from most lawn fertilizers and limit the amount of fertilizer that can be applied at any one time or in one growing season.
One topic of debate is how late in the year fertilizer can be applied. In Delaware, fertilizer cannot be applied between Dec. 7 and Feb. 15. Dates as early as Oct. 15 have been suggested in New Jersey. Experts recommend lawns should receive the bulk of their fertilizer in the fall, which is sometimes difficult to do if there are a lot of trees dumping leaves which then have to be raked up.
The idea of certification has elicited a lot of comment also. Ed Wengryn, New Jersey Farm Bureau field representative, said NJFB has no problem with an education and certification program, particularly if it is voluntary or designed to improve customer service, but if there are additional licenses and fees on businesses, "we do have a problem."
Rick Mondi, interim executive director of the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association, said, “We are 100 percent in favor of some sort of legislation that controls fertilizer and helps water quality. It just should be well thought-out and based on good science, not other states' (regulations) and not completely handcuff the industry."
We couldn't have expressed it better.
To voice your opinion, attend the Joint Senate and Assembly Environmental Committee Hearing on Thursday, Aug. 12 from 9 a.m. to noon at Toms River Town Hall, 133 Washington Street.